There has been plenty of hoopla made about what the Cincinnati Bengals will do with the fifth-overall selection. There’s no question it’s a very important pick for the future of this franchise.
Cincinnati will likely be choosing between offensive tackle Penei Sewell, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and tight end Kyle Pitts, all of whom could be argued as blue chip prospects who could change a franchise’s direction. What has been lost in this discussion is what could Cincinnati do in the rest of the draft?
CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson took on the task of doing an entire Seven-Round mock draft, which gives us at least a little bit better of an idea of what a complete Bengals’ draft could look like when other team’s needs are being considered. Wilson started off his Bengals’ draft in a way that would likely make many fans worry about Joe Burrow’s protection frustrated on the first night of the draft.
Bengals Round 1 - Pick 5 : Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The Bengals SHOULD take Penei Sewell but we feel like they’ll target Ja’Marr Chase here and get OL help later in the draft.
The last idea there is an important one. When even considering to pass on Sewell at five, you have to look at how well Cincinnati will be able to address their issues later on in the draft. If this was the past couple of draft, this wouldn’t even be considered. However, as we see later on in this draft, Cincinnati will have plenty of opportunity to upgrade this offensive line with plug and play talents on Day 2.
This is also not to hide the fact that Chase is arguably the best prospect in this draft that isn’t a quarterback. Wilson has him ranked third just behind Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson. The Bengals lost A.J. Green this offseason and so went over 100 targets from last season.
That isn’t to say this is just about getting a body to replace targets, though. Chase has the ability to be far more productive with those targets that Green who seemed like he had either lost a step or played through an injury all season. Having a receiver who is a threat on deep balls as well as underneath should also free up Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins who were routinely blanketed by the extra help of safeties playing closer to the line of scrimmage daring Cincinnati to go over the top.
In this mock, the Bengals then spend Day 2 adding young pieces to protect their franchise. Sam Cosmi out of Texas likely would start Day 1 at right guard, which fills the biggest need the Bengals have left on their line. He also has the added benefit of being the future at right tackle of Riley Reiff doesn’t stay on for more than a year or two. It is the perfect pick to couple with Chase. They then add on Kendrick Green who will come in and compete for left guard and center. He has plenty of potential, and how quickly he taps it could mean another long term starter in the interior to replace a veteran or Cosmi moving out.
The last day isn’t nearly as flashy. Picking up a player like Ade Ogundeji in the fourth helps add another developmental player on the edge to the rotation. He checks off the size and speed categories for Cincinnati’s usual preference with defensive line while also being versatile enough to kick inside.
They then spend the rest of the day adding depth at some much needed positions like running back, kicker, corner and safety. Most of these players likely end up competition for roster spots, but will more likely end up on the practice squad as some added depth.
Here is what the mock ends up looking like:
- Round 1 - Pick 5: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU Tigers
- Round 2 - Pick 38: Sam Cosmi, OT, Texas Longhorns
- Round 3 - Pick 69: Kendrick Green, OL, Illinois Fighting Illini
- Round 4 - Pick 111: Ade Ogundeji, EDGE, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
- Round 5 - Pick 149: Elijah Mitchell, RB, Louisiana
- Round 6 - Pick 190: Jose Borregales, K, Miami Hurricanes
- Round 6 - Pick 202: Shemar Jean-Charles, CB, Appalachian State
- Round 7 - Pick 235: Damar Hamlin, S, Pittsburgh Panthers